Get ready for next lecture: microbial nutrition and growth conditions

Monday 8 October, 2007

موضوع محاضَرَتَيْ هذا الأسبوع بسيط لا تعقيد فيه، يتعلق بمعلومات أساسية عن التغذية وأثر الظروف الخارجية على نمو الكائنات الدقيقة. أتمنى أن تحضروا هذه المحاضرة كي تكتشفوا الكثير عن الميكروبات وطرق معيشتها المتنوعة جداً. تابعوها كأنّكم تشاهدون برنامجاً عن البكتيريا وليس كأنّكم تتلقون محاضرة تمتحنون فيها.

This week’s lectures (Tue 9 October, Wed 10 October) are about microbial nutrition and growth conditions. This topic is straightforward but really interesting. I hope you can attend and follow the lecture as if you’re watching a documentary about microbes rather than a part of the curriculum.

If you have half an hour to get prepared, I suggest the following:

  1. Read the main points in Part I, Chapters 4 and 5 in your book. Use speed reading and don’t get scared by the tables in these chapters. Most tables are just for additional knowledge, but the amount to be memorized is really minimal.
  2. Read about bacterial nutrition and growth in Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology; it is the main reference for these chapters in your book. You can always look in the USC School of Medicine site: Bacteriology, Chapter Three (and like last time, you may even download the whole lecture from this page, or see the presentation and listen to the lecture here!).
  3. If you really have time and want to enjoy some deep reading, go to the library and read Chapters 4 and 5 in Brock’s Biology of Microorganisms. Dr. Thomas Brock has discovered plenty of thermophilic bacteria and you can expect his textbook to carry his legacy.

Week 2-3 lectures (Part I- Chapters 2-3) now online

Saturday 6 October, 2007

Dr. Aymen Yassin has released the online version of his lectures as online PowerPoint presentations. You can browse these lectures and review all the slides that were presented in the lecture room. Obviously, the purpose of putting these slides online is to provide you with the color figures and to let you take notes if you have missed a slide or two. However, they are not handouts or summaries and are NOT lecture notes (Don’t print them as your study tool!) Always resort to the book, or–better–to your own notes taken during the lecture and matched with info in the book.

How to access the lectures?

Well, the lectures will permanently be a part of the online course that will be coming out very soon next week on There is one trick: you will need a password! Temporarily, you may access them following the links below. You will be asked to enter a username and password (these may be changed every week or two).

The username is:
The password is the answer to the following question (one word- small letters):
What is the third domain of life discovered by Carl Woese? (pay attention to the spelling)

Chapter2: Classification and Identification of Microbes

Chapter 3: Structure of the Prokaryotic Cell.

If you have any problems with reading the text, or if some characters are scrambled, make sure you set your broswer’s encoding to Unicode (UTF-8) (how?)

Good luck!

This week’s lab procedures available online and in print

Tuesday 2 October, 2007

Handouts containing detailed procedures for this week’s laboratory session (Microscopy and Staining) are available both as hard and soft copies.
– Find a PDF copy in the course website(login as guest or register as a student)
– Find a paper copy in the photocopying booth كشك التصوير at Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University, Qasr El Einy Street

When bacteria were called viruses!

Saturday 29 September, 2007

The word “virus” was used in the past to refer to any poison (Latin: virus = poison), such as snake venom, and was later used to describe the causative agent of any infectious disease.

Pasteur often referred to pathogenic bacteria as viruses, but by the end of the nineteenth century, things have changed and infectious agents smaller than bacteria kept the name “filterable viruses” or viruses.

Source: Brock’s Biology of Microorganisms, Eighth Edition (P. 250)

Try to find more info and post it in the comments area…

Get ready for next lecture: read about bacterial structure

Friday 28 September, 2007

Here are some suggestions to help you get prepared for next week’s lecture (Tue 2 October, Wed 3 October) about the prokaryotic cell’s structure, by Dr. Aymen Yassin:

  1. Read the main points in Part I, Chapter 3 in your book. You don’t need to read the whole chapter. Alternatively, get used to “skimming” though the text: read the main titles/ find the keywords by reading rapidly through the chapter/ look at the figures and get an idea about what they represent (More tips on speed reading can be found here and here)
  2. Read about bacterial structure in Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology or USC School of Medicine Bacteriology, Chapter One (you may even download the whole lecture from this page, or see the presentation and listen to the lecture here!). Isn’t all this amazing?
  3. Check the “Explore the bacterial cell” interactive animation (by clicking on the image below). Try to find out the function of each part of the cell.

Bacteria become more virulent in a space shuttle?

Tuesday 25 September, 2007

Will bacteria become more dangerous if they travel in the space in a “weightless” environment?
Why would bacteria travel to space to start with? Obviously it could only happen in a space shuttle!

I found this story on the BBC web site

“Wherever humans go, microbes go; you can’t sterilise humans. Wherever we go, under the oceans or orbiting the Earth, the microbes go with us, and it’s important that we understand… how they’re going to change,” Cheryl Nickerson, from the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at Arizona State University, US, told the Associated Press.

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